My Loft of the Cabin where I store all my virtual reads, reviews and discover new adventures and share new stories!
Transgressive fiction is one of my favorites to read. I am so thrilled that Pavarti released another one of her amazing short stories in this genre. This short is just as good as Consumed by Love if not better. Ms. Tyler's creative vision is a mirror to the dark corners of the human condition.
Before I get to the fun part, let's chat a bit about what transgressive fiction is. I would argue transgressive works today are written in the vernacular. That is to say, they are written for the every day person. There are no cookie cutter houses, or white picket fences in these stories. That is unless there is a teenager cutting themselves or a group of people squatting in a repo in the dying suburbs of Detroit. Or perhaps a couple of teenagers with raging hormones and not thinking outside of their own little bubble finding an apparent dead girl inside their "hideout" and .... *spoilers*! Putting all of this together takes talent. The balance is so precarious in a work of this length, one wrong word could have turned something dark and beautiful into something which doesn't just push boundaries, but crosses them.
Part of me wants to keep writing and get all analytic with this. Discuss the metaphors and the symbolic aspects of what the Dead Girl represents and the actions of the boys compared to societal norms and expectations.It has been five days since I read this story and I can still see everything in my mind. This speaks volumes for a short story. But the other part of me, the fangirl part, wants to squeal all over the page and tell you all to get thineselves to Amazon and grab a copy... seriously, go get a copy!
In this amazing short, Pavarti was able to weave an experience with all the hotness expected in erotica, the shock of societal taboos, and the apprehension and fear of a horror story with as much meat on its bones as a full length novel. This solidifies Pavarti K. Tylers place in authors you should be reading.
This contains violent erotic horror and ummm well .. I cannot tell you, it would be a spoiler! BUT it has triggers so if you are curious what kind, ask. But then again.. DEAD GIRL... two teenage boys and erotica, you do the math! (Told you it was transgressive).
[caption id="attachment_24305" align="aligncenter" width="341"] Five Blood Bag Rating
I am a huge vampire fan, another reason I love this book. Of course one of my favorite vampire novels is Bram Stoker's Dracula. I know what a fan of gothic imagery Pavarti is and when I was stalking all my favorite Etsy shops I found this awesome cameo which has a great quote from the book: "In trance she died, in trance she is un-dead". This is also a thank you from me for being such amazing people. This month marks the 4th anniversary of Cabin Goddess (before she was just a bitch, and now she is a goddess.. hehe - inside joke for the original cabinbitch readers). ENJOY! International giveaway hosted by me and in no way affiliated with the author, other than I think she is awesome!
If you are not a big transgressive fiction or dark erotica fan, can I suggest a couple of other amazing stories from Pavarti:
Two Moons of Sera - Omnibus is another one of my favorites. I was privy to read the last segment as it was being written. It is a fantastic story and was written as a serial novel. Permapriced at 99¢ for Kindle, it is well worth the read.Check out my review HERE
Shadow on the Wall (The SandStorm Chronicles, #1), a book about a muslim super hero. I absolutely loved this one too. It is fantastic and, again, shows just how diversly talented Pavarti is. Read my review HERE and her #FourthWallFriday HERE.
You asked people to read your book and review it honestly. Getting all bent out of shape, meh... I can understand that, it sucks. But to go on a libel attack and slander someone and emailing people who are tweeting the review or sharing it and causing others to be put in an uncomfortable position by publicly and privately attacking them.. Well?? I am, totally fucking done! As in over it ... WAY way over it!
So.. you can take my flying monkeys and let them fly up your ass. If I decide to review any authors book from now on (indie authors) I will be researching and stalking your public feeds to make sure it is SAFE for me to even read it. I get emotionally involved in my reading. I won't be taking on things that could possibly cause problems anymore, not that I am backing down. If I do happen to read a book that was not what it promised to be and I feel impassioned as I was earlier this week to review it... I will!
So... you know what?? Wanna write a book? GREAT! Calling me a troll because I have a lot of readers over at Cabin Goddess who share said review and get bent out of shape? Not my problem and not very smart as a career move! I didn't write the review for the author, I wrote the review for my readers, some of them may happen to be authors. However... I do hereby promise NEVER to fart rainbows all over the place and kiss your ass! I promise to ALWAYS be honest. If you cannot handle that??? You really are in the wrong business!
Due to the author losing her mind, posting a libel blog post and responding many of the authors on twitter who shared my review from Triberr or my blog by calling them names and getting all huffy. Naomi Blackborn responded in a post: To Review or Not Review: It shouldn’t be a question on her blog The AUthor CEO. I have had a lot of thing said about me and even my husband stepped in and responded with this post: Prepare for your work to be destroyed #IndiePub. Am I butthurt? Nope just disappointed and totally understanding why so many of you guys will NOT review indie writers. I am this close to being done except for the writers whose work and behavior has already been proven as professional. The following review is only 1/3 of what I wrote. There are so many other problems with the book I did not include, such as her inability to research and her bigotry as well as her irresponsibility to writing a book FOR Young adults which would get most teachers fired if they used it as required reading. (picture a description of sexual abuse of a five year old and contrived sounding abuse which focused on the extreme). She screamed PTSD, she screamed THIS IS MY STORY.. well FINE... this is MY REVIEW, suck it up buttercup! ALSO go read my hubbies post, I guarantee many authors and reviewers will like it, especially since the man is not a reviewer but an actual indie artist.
You know what you say after eating that banana split? “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” Well guys, I can’t believe I read the whole thing.
The following review are my opinion. It was unsolicited except for the random reading of the tweet from the author, which I did not respond too.
So take a deep breath, perhaps crack open a bottle of wine or pour some Irish Cream in your coffee because you will need it.
As I have mentioned before, grammar is not my strong point. I struggle to place the comma right and commonly find myself putting in a serial comma in one sentence and in the next not bothering. I was taught not to in elementary school and in college I was ripped a new one when I did not. Because of this, I usually give it a pass unless it is so glaringly bad I have to say something. Within the first 10 minute of reading I felt nauseated, and had to put the book down because there was a virtual vomiting of commas or semi-colons or nothing at all I seriously had head nausea. But I, again, gave the author the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to the recent death of my Kuerig. I slammed a couple of bad cups of instant coffee, took a couple of Tums and gave it another go… Wow, there really are no more words. Still I pushed on through.
The book takes place in the fall of ’87 in a small Midwestern town. Bum **** Egypt Indiana to quote the author. I graduated in 1985, went to Washington State University and studied Journalism through 1987 and was heavily involved in the music scene from my junior high years through the birth of my son in 89. I hung with skateboarders, drove to Seattle and like the protagonist, Kiera, dug through the records in the U-district. The 90′s grunge musicians were in high school and had yet to play in front of the mosh pits. I hung out with many of them in fact. Heck, Dave Krusen and I had a very interesting and tenacious friendship throughout my high school career and I have some of the original photos of Outrigger somewhere on black and white negatives at my parents. I say all this because the book is saturated in musical references, so the music is not something that is lost on me, especially from the 80’s. However there is nostalgia and then there is self-service.
Before I get into that, I think I should address some of the technical things which didn’t just jump out at me, but inspired me to take a bullet for you guys.
Let’s start with the technical issues. I promise I will not nitpick. One of the 101 There are several mistakes writers make. Any Creative Writing 201 class will tell you the watch out for some of the following (all of which she makes the mistakes of falling into the trap of):
**Lack of Editing.
**Too Much Irrelevant Detail.
**No Attention to Language.
**Absence of Imagery and Reliance on Cliches.
**No Sense of Place.
**No Shape or Structure
**Poor Dialogue Skills
**Lack of Technical Knowledge.
I won't cover all of these. It is to bad but it is common in first time writers. Let’s address the lack of editing and lack of technical knowledge first. Again, I am sure this review is riddled with my own technical mistakes. I could never edit my own work. Hence why you need professional editing. Not just someone who hangs an “editor shingle” up, but has been proven by the actual piece of work, to be a true editor.
The opening sentence should have been an indicator to me:
“Red pen slashes a bloody trail all over the journal that lands in front of me.”
If I was wielding a red pen myself it would be corrected with:
“Red marks slash a bloody trail over the journal that lands in front of me.”
After reading the first four chapters I went back to re-read what I had read just in case it was me. Truthfully at this point I *was* just going to give up and write a DNF review. (BTW I read the WHOLE BOOK) After re-reading and seeing for myself why I actually felt physically ill, I found the lack of or mistakenly used commas to be the dirty little culprit, and not the bad coffee. There are over twenty-four mistakes which I will not bother to even post which include but are not even close to being limited to attribution style clauses, independent clauses needing or not needing commas and the lack of hyphens. One that bothers me horrifically are the made up slang. I am reminded by my wonderful partner that this could be a sub-culture I was unaware of. Even with that in mind you think could find some kind of etymology of the word hillbullies that is not a weird esoteric movie reference from 2009. I am not even from Indiana but if I ever called one of my Hoosier family members (yes Grandma and Gramps were from Indiana) or any of my friends a Hillbully I would probably lose a friend. I shared the following example with one of them tonight when I asked her if she had ever heard of this slang term. (Which it seems to be not paying attention to language).
(FROM THE BOOK) - You see, in Indiana if you were to request Earl Grey tea, you would be met with a blank stare followed by, “What in tarnation are you askin’ fer?”. It isn’t like the entire state is a bunch of fat, stupid redneck hillbullies. It’s just the majority. You try and find a cluster of people who aren’t gun-toting, truck-driving, country-music-listening, rude, “yew ain’t frum here ar yew”, ignorant hillbullies in Indiana. I dare you. That’s why there are so many trucks with the bumper stickers that say “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.” - (“Nothing in Particular” 128-129) -
Desiree DeOrto a Indiana Hoosier and author of The Divinity Stone Series responded with, and I quote, “WHAT. THE. ****. O.O” she went on to say a lot more, but we agreed to be above it and so she asked me to share this:
“‘As an AUTHOR who lives in Southern Indiana, has went to college for Animation and Psychology and is raising my children here I would have to say that your representation of what the people of Indiana are is absolutely horrifying, uncouth, and immoral.’"
All I wanted to know is if anyone had heard the slang term of hillbullies. Again, don’t take my word or Leanne’s, read the Amazon sample at the bottom. This also is an example of no sense of place and poor dialogue skills.
I seriously had to shove my cover whore deep back in the closet (much like Keira the protagonist did as a child with her stereo-typical little brother and her contrived image of an abusive father). Speaking of abuse, the original synopsis mentions it but her new one does not. This is sold as a young adult read (see her genre listing from Goodreads and her own wording in the synopsis). Believe me I do not want to discount the abuse the protagonist suffers from, but it is all over the place and so violent I would feel criminal letting a child read this. There is no real consequences to the abuse which happen, it is one desperate loss after another. Even in the end (which there really is not one, but apparently this is a series read) Kiera has no real closer. I have whiplash from shaking my head so much. Child abuse happens to over 20% of the children in America, it is a serious subject matter. Believe me, for someone who is a domestic abuse victim the violence in this had me shaking and crying at times. Her use of present perfect tense did bring you into the book. This is where that half star comes from. But it does not stop (spoiler coming and possible trigger), Kiera has the nightmares come together and remembers at about 60% that her father sexually molested her at the age of five. Again whiplash and my jaw is a bit sore from hanging open so much ridiculous situations and the overall complete contrived feel of the book.
Wait, what about the self-serving comment you ask?
BIG sigh and another … “****. Me. Running.”
If you spend all your time telling a story and proving your prowess in something like.. ohhhh 80′s industrial and punk bands you totally are going to lose your audience. We are not going to even be bothered to become involved with the characters (Which though I felt for Kiera and saw a little bit of development for the most part they were very flat and two-dimensional). You are only self-serving and being overbearingly excessive…(deep sigh). The truth is you are doing it for yourself, you want everyone to see how clever and knowledgeable you are. But (shaking my fist passionately), you cannot create a fictional book on reference alone! Things maybe happening within the pages of this book but it is overwhelmingly a minority. Sure this is a shout-out to the misfits, such as I was but I wanted so bad to find something redeemable. The violence and contrived abuse situations and characters were there, (oh and yes you can experience violence and your writing can still sound contrived) but it was over the top. I know it was a message but because of this self-serving choice of stuffing the novel with all these names of bands, just as the chick-lit gals with their brand-dropping, it cost the point and message of the narrative for at least the first 30% of the book and even when it let up to be replaced by Kiera being almost killed by her father and all the other horrific things it was lost for the rest of the book. Because so much of it happened in the begining, most folks (non-masochists) probably have given up before hand.
The book is so full of pop-culture references across the span of the 80’s my head was spinning (no shape or structure and relying on clichés) and yes my coffee had been drank. I ended up spending two hours discussing the first 15% of this book with my partner, Geoff. Being a professional musician Goeff is a Jedi Music Master and I’m just a mere Padawan. However, I still know enough to become perplexed at not only the choking amount of musical references this book drowns in but the combination of it all. It is worse than reading some of the chick flick I have read which throws around Prada and Jimmy Choo till you are ready to throw up and still have no clue what you are reading, (which truthfully I felt like doing after the first 10 pages). Think of how a Prada-whore would feel if they saw you walking down the street in your worn out Levi jeans and this years latest Shiny Leather Point-Toe Pumps (which, by the way, I am drooling over)!
Can I go on? Probably but frankly I don’t want to waste anymore of my time on this.
So about that bullet? Yeah, took it, am still awake past my bed time writing this review. I want to leave you with a final thought I learned from an award winning editor. Once you think your story is perfect, walk away from it for at least a week. You can take all the beta tips you want, you can have someone who is a best-selling author help you edit, such as this author had, and take a clinic and say it is perfect. You can have the best intentions… and a week or even a decade later you will find glaring mistakes. They will leap out at you like snarling KY Hillbullies. (I finally found out what a hillbully is, apparently it is a bull terrier breed, that cute dog on Little Rascals Dog and the Target ads).
Myself and one of my other reviewers read this over the last two days. If you are interested in finding out why I rated this with half a star, have at it... find out why the goats have the right idea and why I am TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM (review)
BTW the author THREATENED to sue me so the goat image got taken down...
Belw is the what now is on my blog!
Since I have been threatened with a lawsuit from the author of "NOTHING IN PARTCULAR" by Kate LeDonne because her book cover and her author image are copyright protected and she was not happy with the review. After much talk and consideration and since I cannot afford a lawyer to fight the bogus charge with my own countersuit of libel, I will remove it from my website. This was never a smear campaign or a form of bullying or anything. It was a review of a book I purchased and I felt was not just poorly written but also irresponsible on many different levels. You will have to read about the book on Amazon and read the sample there also. Apparently I only can review a book and give it a good review (4 or 5 stars) *insert sarcasm*. I cannot be critical without consequences and as yesterday showed these are not just over the top ridiculous but out of control. They also have caused The Hus to be involved. (see his post). I have to say, with my last critical review the author did not say a word, she was blown away but she never said ONE negative word about it. So I am taking this review down. Sorry guys. If you are interested go to Amazon, she cannot threaten my review there with any consequences being had from me.
AUTHORS -these written reviews are for readers NOT you. I took several hours to read this book and write my review. I asked friends for advice because I was thinking maybe I was not reading it right. I did not slander an individual. I was reading and critiquing a piece of writing. If you don't want that, don't publish your work. I am sorry she felt I was being mean with the goats but I use my goats to promote EVERY review I do. Every book I review I treat with the same respect. Graphics are all hand done by me, authors bio and book buy links, EVERYTHING is the same. I try to make the post pretty. I post my tweets, I am a member of Triberr and I have over 8K combined email and RSS feed followers not to mention almost 5K on Cabin Goddesses Facebook page and over 6K twitter followers. ALL ORGANIC. You guys read me because you like to hear what I have to say, apparently.
For the record. I did not get this book for a tour, I did not work to create havoc. I wrote this, SLAVED over the review, sent my tweets out and went to bed. I woke up to find out she had been contacting those who auto-tweet me via Triberr and to others who retweeted me being attacked online. I do not know this woman. I am not taking this review down because she threatened me. She only wins from it being taken off my site, from deleting all my tweets from getting any more exposure from me and my readers. I am taking it down because it has caused people I care about problems which is unfair to them to suffer because I wrote a review an author did not like. Again it was not personal. I never set out to smear anyone, to even fathom that little piece of libel has me shaking my head. To the authors who shared this I appreciate it and I am sorry I caused you any problems. I always am honest. But after careful consideration and the words of Geoff, I am only leaving up the link to Amazon's review (which is the same here) Leanne's can also be found there. It is always OK to post my own opinion. You guys wonder why there are are problems in the Indie world? Look no further. Yesterdays fiasco was a prime example.
I can't force myself to read any further... Seriously this so badly written and actually... I mean come on!! Buddy, your friends never opened the book they just gave you fake ratings and reviews. It's bad bad bad bad bad bad bad...
Seriously... BAD... so...FRELLING BAD!!!
"He did this... he did that.. he said that... he took a shower.. he saw two red eyes.. he smelled her scent.."
HE DID NOT however, SLIT his wrists!!!
I had to put aside my issues about it being some kind of post-pandemic book and just enjoy the immediate immersing of my fantasy bug to enjoy two characters trying to being Twist and Dodger. For someone who not only read but includes Oliver Twist as one of her favorite books I caught a bunch of subtle tribute to Dickens within the actual story lines, but from this futuristic viewpoint.
Personally I found the story absolutely delightful, I could care less that it was not the post-pandemic story, it because a story of the relationship between these two best friends and how it changed and expanded itself into something almost magical and frightening as one friend is racing against time to safe the other.
Don't sell it short and don't expect it to have a bunch of post-pandemic troupes because truthfully this is a story which is a little Escape from NY meets Charles Dickens meets Stand By Me...
Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.
I have read short stories by Colin F. Barnes and he has always taken my breath away with his interesting blend of normal troupes twisted into genres they don't usually fit or expect them to be in.
SALT is no excepting. A normal procedural thriller/mystery stuck into a very real and intense post-apocalyptic world of deceit and microcosms of societal conflict with a floating city.
In the midst of this flotilla with the world having drowned and literally having been flooded, they are the seemly the last survivors. With a virus which is infecting folks and having their filtration systems breaking down they are forced to try to find out if there is anywhere they can get resources.. what they did not and are not equipped to handle is murder and deceit.
This book is AMAZING! And I recommend it to ANYONE who likes both genres or even just one or the other! WHAT a treat to read!
I am not kidding, this book was a complete mind f***. I had to put it down for a few weeks because of my intensely crazy reading schedule and my life going upside down. But, it never left me. I had nightmares and the feelings evoked from reading this were terrifying. I was so wrapped up in the mystery of WTF and I just wanted him to find out what was going on that when he did?
Chin..hitting floor... mouth agape... muttering HOLY SHI*T!
I am a huge LOST fan, a HUGE fan of crazy shows like X-Files and odd off the wall esoteric weird television which make you think and have nightmares. And Crouch? Well... wow, you will not know what hits you! To see this is going to be made into a TV show makes me so excited! It will be the next X-Files perhaps? Oh one can hope, and no it is NOTHING like x-files but yet...
Just go grab the book! Me? I am on to read book two!!
Roni O’Connell’s Chameleon’s Spell was a fun read over all, but I did have some issues with things which I feel perhaps a bit of editing and re-working would fix. But again, in a complete “meal” this book was fun to read. It is a story about a girl who has grown up far to fast for anyone her age, which is just about to turn 18, because of her half-immortal race of a chameleon. The idea behind this fantasy read is this is a world after a great war between what the author labels Immortals and humans. Immortals being shifters; (there are were’s from bugs to wolves), Daemon’s in several different “flavors”; (which are different from demon’s mind you in straight mythology. Daemon’s, according to my OED, are benevolent spirits from the Hellenistic period and philosophy. O’Connell shows they are good over all but just as with human’s not all of them turn out as good on average) and we are also introduced to Chameleon’s; which our protagonist is half on her mother’s side. There are a few others discussed but these are the ones we are given the most info on.
The main protag, Juliet, is just trying to create a life for herself. She owns a cabin in the woods (liked this part) with a lake which she swims in and a forest which has no-hunting allowed. Immortals do not have full citizenship so she keeps her bloodline secret from everyone and the laws are not there for their protection as much as they are there because of treaties to keep the peace. For every immortal there are over a thousand humans, so immortals, mainly because of the war and because of their long lives (not really immortal) they do not “breed” as fast as humans.
I know I usually do not do this much explaining but I don’t want you, if you choose to pick this up, to get frustrated in the beginning like I did and not finish reading it. If I had I would have missed the best part of the book, which is the meat of it. This is why I think perhaps a bit of an edit or maybe some more fleshing out would benefit the complete experience of the read.
The only reason I think this can be labeled as mature young adult is there are a few aspects she has to deal with which are touched upon which would fit it into the young adult arena. It is somewhat of a coming of age story because Juliet is dealing with learning how to deal with her newly emerging immortal breed’s talents, she also has to deal with the fact she is so beautiful humans fall at her feet in adulation, which can be quite a pain in the ass when she just wants to be left alone, especially after a few horrific things which have happened in her past. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t call it young adult. It is more fantasy or post-apocalyptic fantasy even, just because it is happening in a post war world build.
The problem with labeling could be because the author doesn’t really give us a good info dump. Some of you maybe going yay, me? It is Fantasy, I need a bit of info dumping so I can get the lay of the land, especially when you are not using a typical fantasy creatures. Or you are putting your own spin on the creatures. Not enough time was given to flesh the immortals out, heck I just remembered there are angels in the immortal races. So we have Hellenistic Greek, Judea Christian Angels, paranormal were’s (though I know these were sprinkled throughout a lot of different cultures) and then Chameleon’s which are not Greek; because she would be associated with air and this Chameleon’s is associated with water and talks about how her immortal side was once confused with Mermaids.. see how it could be a bit confusing?
Perhaps I am being to over-analytical and I decided I was after tearing my hair out at 25% when I had figured out the main mystery already. It still meant there had to be more to it than the mystery, right? There was, much more and it ramped up about at the 40-45% mark and had me completely taken in. If I was to describe this as hamburger I would say the top of the bun was the beginning and was too thick but not dense enough (as in not enough information for me to fully grasp and get taken in), the majority of the rest of the story was a gourmet burger of good quality and the ending… was the heel left over from a loaf bread. I say this because I got to the end and didn’t realize it ended and kept trying to turn the page only to realize I was at 100% finished. It felt rushed and was not complete. I felt let down and almost cheated. I really do hope there is a sequel because to many things were left hanging.
But these are things which probably won’t bother most people because the main bit of the story was entertaining. I really did enjoy it and I loved Daniel and Juliet. I won’t go any further into my issues with the development of their relationship because I am not exactly one to have a firm grasp at today’s romance troupes. He kind of went from asshole to awesome in nine-seconds flat, hehe.
Over all because of my own issues I am giving this a 7 out of 10 (or a 3.5 stars). I do recommend this book for those who are not heavy fantasy readers and who like urban fantasy with a new twist. On thing I do want to stress is this does have triggers for those who have experienced domestic violence and or abuse from a partner. Just to keep that in mind, not huge ones but enough where it could be an issue. It was a little rough but entertainment wise? I truthfully could not put it down after I hit the 40% mark. I needed to know what was going what was going to happen next. What Juliet would do with her good intentions and how they would effect the world around her. Where Daniel would fit in, what would happen to the were pack on her land, what about past loves, what about damaged lives?!! The author caused me to to have a need, and I need a sequel…
The original review is on CABINGODDESS.COM and is a REVIEW & a RECIPE. I have a recipe for Vegetarian Smoked Porter Chili, which is to DIE for and even will have meat eaters tricked into thinking they are having a really good bowl of mean laden chili!
Let me start by saying Karen S. Bell is obviously a very intelligent person.. and she knows it and embraces it and expects everyone else to recognize it too because, well it is obvious she is not just confident, she is convinced.. It’s also quite obvious from the voice she uses from her protagonist. Personally after finally finishing this book, which I had to stop myself from skimming past the purple prose so I could honestly write this review (that and I would have been done in 30 minutes if I did), I wanted to drink 5-liters of wine, black out and forget I had read it. Damn it.. I promised I would not be one of those reviewers, but this is really hard. Seriously, I am trying not to be mean, but the thing is? It really is the perfect example of purple prose (and this is not a good thing). Let’s try this again.
Sunspots, if you like a story which is full of itself, whose characters are stereotyped from the tippy top of the heels of her Milanos and descriptions are tell.. tell… throw a bunch of $25 dollar words in to prove just how smart you are but never show what you are trying to show. Where the magic that is the Aurora Borealis (and believe me, honey I know, I am an Alaskan) is.. umm wrapped up in TIEDDIE (we will cover that little SP issue in a bit). If you like an author who uses those big words to make it balloon out into a full length novel. If you are looking for a story with .. umm wait what was this about? Oh gods I give up, if she gave up trying to be so bloody flowery and put more effort into showing (this doesn’t mean showing off) and not telling it may just have been a novella around 10-15K but at least it would have been a story and not, whatever this was! It would have been so much more tolerable, probably really enjoyable and it would have been a much better experience if it were. The repetitive style also seemed like an attempt to be allegorical without really understanding allegory, basing the use of her poem at the beginning, I maybe assuming too much here, but the use of the poem throughout the novel leads me to believe this is the case.
As it was, I wasted an afternoon reading it and yet I still keep giggling a little bit inside when I think of some of the things I read. I was struck with the evocation of smugness which screamed from between these ballooned lines. So when I got to the third chapter and it starts with “One can never be, and should never be, smug about life.” I spit my drink out and thought holy shit… yep, that’s about all I could do. After this, the protagonist when not whining) was all of a sudden barreling through this myriad of name dropping, pop-culture, mish-mash something or other with .. again I am just still at a loss for words.
I was insulted on the extreme pompous tone, the cliche and generalized characterizations and extreme stereotyping of her characters. I also loath when the characters are constantly harping on with name brands they are wearing. I am reminded of the class I took from Bram Stoker award winning editor Michael Knost who says “Remember when writing a description, the rule of WGAS (who gives a shit.” If you are going to write it, does it really matter. Does it matter that Frodo has green eyess? No, who gives a shit, SHOW It don’t tell it. What brand of shoes she wore, or purse she had, etc, did not really matter in this story, it just did not fit!! And.. MAGICAL REALISM, don’t claim to be a story within the genre of magical realism just because there is a bit of magic in it. The tone is passionate and as I said above, has magical aspects, but that does not make it magical realism. This is as much a book that falls in the realm of magical realism as the last zombie book I read. Sorry, that is base fact. It has qualities of paranormal and magical feelings, a touch of the unknown and again passion but, not magical realism.
I know folks like books like this! And sometimes there is something to be said about ones writing of purple prose. It is a style which can be done well and successfully. Dickens did it and did it well. Vladimir Nabokov is another author who not only studied romantic styles of language but again did it well, like Tolstoy who successfully pulled it off and many contemporary writers have made and make it work. But, if you cannot even spell tieddie right and yet the protag is constantly talking about her parents hippie lifestyle .. ummmm, hello? Then in next breath how she bought some name brand shoes which takes a few paragraphs to pontificate about and doing the whole obnoxious swoon…
Yet with all this passion there was still no depth, nothing and I still never really figured out what the hell this was about. Sure I know the story was about loss, her prologue was pretty nice. I did finally manage to figure it out.. I think, but I kept thinking.. THE POINT, what the hell is the point? The synopsis promises us a journey through her grief, not the showing off vocabulary!!! ARGH.. again sorry, sorry sorry I am really trying here!!!
This was suppose to be this magical journey, this window into grief and coping… I think? One may want to make sure you know how to spell important words, use a comma or semi-colon correctly and understand what run-on sentences are. (I certainly do and am OK with writing a blog post with run-ons however…) Or you insist on using tee shirt instead of t-shirt and your grammar is worse than mine in some places (yes some because it was not consistent at all). At least I know, can admit and be humble enough to admit my grammar blows? The book is in hardcore need of a very tight line-edit. Maybe I am off-base here but if it takes me out of the book it is probably worse that it is.
You would think someone who is obviously as intelligent as this author is and who is as passionate as she is she would want it to be perfect, self-published or not. Finding the magic in everything she observes is great, but she may want to find something other than contemporary romance to express it with because this book fell flat on it’s face.
What are Purple Prose???
Purple Prose: Writing so extravagant or orate that it breaks the flow of the narrative and draws attention to itself.
The Elements of Style calls this writing that is “hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.” There’s no solid example of purple prose since the definition is subjective, but it is something you definitely don’t want. Below is one example of the evolution from concise language to purple prose:
- Plain: He set the cup down.
- Middle Ground: He eased the Big Gulp onto the table.
- ACK: Without haste, the tall, blond man lowered the huge, plastic, gas station cup with a bright red straw onto the slick surface of the coffee table.
I do want to say some positive things here though. I thought the prologue shows promise and I liked the structure of the book, yep I did. I loved how she took a poem, one of hers … of course *wink* and she used the lines for the titles of her chapters. I liked that and thought it was clever and I am sure Ms. Bell does too *wink*.
I could not resist using the line, yes I make myself giggle, but this week has been one of the most difficult of my life in a long time. I think perhaps I will write about it later but today I want to share Lakebridge: Autumn, a book which is part of the series which is near and dear to my heart.
I am always leery when reviewing books by authors I end up becoming close friends with. I was one of the lucky ones who got spoon fed the chapters before the final draft and in the end I let the last few just sit in my inbox because I did not want to ruin the full book experience. After my reviews of Lakebridge: Spring and Lakebridge: Summer, I am hard pressed to top the complex deconstruction of that with this new installment of the horror series from Natasha. To simply say it will scare your pants off is doing Autumn an injustice. To say go read it, is just strong-arming those who trust me (but GO READ IT). What I will say is this is the best in the series and has secured itself in what hopefully will become a cult classic in the area of horror.
As I have mentioned in the past, horror for me is not just a genre. However in our reading world today everything needs to be in it’s own special box and it is a specific genre which is one of the most popular across most forms of media/entertainment. We as a society need more and more to get our heart racing, unfortunately some writers and film makers feel the need to just shock us instead of challenge us on a deeper level, as the masters in the past have. Horror books would be more about the psychological aspects of fear instead of being lazy and showing us gore. If you have noticed the only books within horror I have been reviewing lately are zombie books because let’s face it, those at least are not really about the gore, and the zombies are not the monsters in the book but part of the landscape. The real monsters are within the people. Troop does the same thing, except…. but I don’t want to compare her to zombie reads, her books are literary fiction, as is “complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas”.[Sarrick 2005, page 32]. Lakebridge: Autumn is not a book you can breeze through and skim in areas. Jump into the book and discover the other monsters some with form and some with no form. It is up to you to discern and separate them and at times let them take over.
There is a movie I have watched over and over again, FOUR ROOMS unlike many people what I find intriguing about this movie is that though each “episode” within each room is setting us up for the finale. You can read each of them by themselves, but you will miss the thread that holds the books together (yes there is another book coming… and I will apologize to you ahead of time for what I will be posting…). Lakebridge: Spring is setting it up, giving us just a tiny taste of the kind of writer she is. Lakebridge: Summer allows us to feel almost safe but still tasting a bit of grit … Lakebridge: Autumn? Oh holy crap make sure you are not on anything because otherwise you will be questioning a few things and have one of those bizarre conversations with the cat because everyone is thrown on one of those carnival rides which spin you around and around and around..and darkness falls because.. well
Perhaps one of Troop’s strongest talents going for her is character development. By now readers of the other two in the series are majorly invested in some of the main characters, especially Gil. Who would have thought this one-armed man who was building toy trebuchets to take out his tiny covered bridges while selling Birch Beer to extremely tall women who are passing through on their way to Vermont, that is if they can resist the pull of the bridge and not heed the warnings of a lone moose… Oh the Moose…( hmmm maybe the moose is the MacGuffin..)
Her characters, even the ones which are at the beginning of each book (see excerpt) all solid. We are completely entranced by even the mention of some weird lady living in a cabin in the woods with some obsession about bacon (who the hell inspired this I have no clue.. hmm). The funny thing is, well the humour! It is chuck full of it. Talk about a story device (and there are a plenty within the book). She builds up all these characters, some as simple as the hermit in the woods, some as complex as Gil. No matter what we are heavily invested in each and every one so when Troop does what she does to a few of them, well let’s face it we are shocked, we feel and we weep or we go… WTF now what??? We all want to have certain folks make it… but this is a horror story, and when I saw this is going to go boom I thought I understood it… then it ended and things started to crumble and a door opened in my mind (not just in the end of the book but several times throughout) I went …
But what about the sandwich? I mean if a bridge is not just a bridge, and a sandwich is… or is it? Or is the sandwich not a sandwich but a bridge or… help! Seriously, perhaps the bologna sandwich is the MacGuffin! Hmmmmm… well, you never know till you read it!
It had zombie in it, I auto-signed up, looked good! Plus I think reviewing middle-grade and young adult reads, especially in the summer when I know my kids read a lot and parents are looking for safe and fun reads for the kids. This truly is going to be short and sweet like each of the two volumes of this series.
The second volume is 92 pages long, it reads quick, it is gore free because these zombies are not craving brains, they want bling! You see, these zombies are created by a zombie bokar and he is sending them out to find something he lost which happened to find Goldie while she was taking a walk on the beach during book one. So they are controlled by the voodoo priest. The item she found is wrapped in both light and dark magic and with everything combined in this ongoing mystery, it has all the ingredients for a fabulous and fun read! (I’ve read both in the series, so this sort of will be a combo because it is hard to separate the two). During book two she has to figure out just what is going on and try to stay ahead of the bokar before he finds the right Rich in the zombie phone book (grin).
I don’t want to go further into the story but I will give you reasons why it is totally safe for MG and younger YA readers. No gore, no horrible deaths, full of fun and antics from the kids involved. The characters are well fleshed out and developed and even with the setting, it is not a ridiculous silly story. Lots of action and mystery to keep your young readers attention (and their parents.. *coughing* I loved it) and also full of lots of places to giggle! Especially Gemma, Goldie’s older sister! Oh my WORD that woman! Poor Goldie, I was afraid she was going to starve! At least her aunt is there to make sure she has plenty of pancakes to keep her belly full.
These books would be great for Scholastic to pick up for selling at the stores and during book fair! I highly recommend you getting book one, The Zombie Next Door and grabbing this one and making your young reader very happy (as well as getting a cool mom or dad award)!
Kathleen McFall and Chuck Hayes have brought to life two unlikely groups of folks and thrown them into this incredible series. And though you may think vampire stories are just as over saturated as zombies have become, I argue there will always an over saturation of the popular genre tropes. Plus *smirk* these vampires really do not sparkle or even smile a lot, except for Lizzie.
Lizzie the queen of vampires whose blood and possibly unborn child will save the vampires and possibly everyone's way of life. But for now all she wants is a respite from the upcoming struggles within her new "kingdom", which at the end of book two looks up. Ever since Lizzie's nightmare started at least she always had Tucker, her cowboy and the rest of the gang... she is happy, or at least she is till all hell breaks loose on what should be the happiest day of her life, her wedding.
Clark and Kathleen weave a world of darkness, hope and despair, terror, joy, sadness, death and life, color and a mixture of grays and muddy browns but most importantly they have taken a worn out paranormal creature; the savage vampire, and breathed new life with this genre bending series of work.
I have a feeling the series is not over, but I think we will see a different trilogy, who knows. I can truthfully say I am OK either way. I am betting a few who have read the book are looking at your screens right now saying, "What are you smoking, Kriss!" The way it ends completely caught me way off guard yes, and it was .. is... umm... hmmm not sure what I can tell you guys, let me ask the cat *cue Jeopardy Music* nope she says I cannot tell you even a little, as in I was going to tell what type of ending and *struggling* argh! Nope, never nope... back to my review. *wiping the sweat off my brow and wishing I had some of the above food*
Elita is back, and for those who want to know who she is .. in a nutshell she is a homicidal psychotic vampire from one of the families no one thinks much of and who provides us with the much needed comic relief. The 'Red Scare' better known as Rurik who is one of the oldest vampires and who Tucker; our cowboy, hates and who is a badass and in book two is drool worthy and much more fleshed out. In this one, he is a jerk off but a savior. Tucker's father was buried in book two but Lenny; our conspiracy theorist, is back and as awesome as ever! (Lenny is one of my favorites). The cast is tighter but this book is not as focused on the cast of people, but around a more philosophical and metaphysical questions involving life and death and love.
The balance of funny from Elita, the serious brooding character of Tucker and the metaphysical aspect of ... well the Meta (must read it, it is where they go between morning and night when they "die" each day), the horror of what happens to Lizzie after the disaster of her wedding day is boiling away on high and causing the necessity to read till you are done. The darkest of the bunch and the best written so far I am just delighted. They are each finding their voices which peek through with a few o the different characters. I am absolutely thrilled to have grabbed this!
You think you are over vampires in books? You haven't read ones with cowboys and vampires thrown into the ring together. I cannot recommend these for paranormal lovers enough! Grab the series while you can and read away. Be prepared to have your jaw hanging open at the end of this book and whistling out of at least one of your orifices (yes, I had to go there).
Eleanor stole my heart from the minute I began reading the book. Just this morning I was dealing with the brooding daughter who when growing up pulled the hoodies over her head, wore dull colors and just did not want to be seen. If she is noticed she is bullied and even if she is not she is sneered and laughed at. Funny I was dealing with my daughter this morning who started off her high school career like this. Growing up pulled the hoodies over her head and her bangs in her face, wore dull colors and just did not want to be seen. If she is noticed she is bullied and because she was thought to have an extreme learning disability even some teachers would bully her. This is how Eleanor deals with it, but for more than your typical teenage reasons.
There are a lot of things this book can be said to be about. Above all I argue this books main theme is love, but again it is about so much more. As with many well written pieces of literary fiction, all aspects are well balanced and everything in it has a reason to be there. I will argue with many who have read Eleanor, including the author, that she is a monster. Again, for those of us who have read it, yes she calls herself one and technically… well I don’t want to be specific here.
For me, this is a book about the coming of age of a young woman whom the author has chosen as not just someone who is his daughter at heart (as mentioned above) but who’s unassuming because she works at it; who lives in the shadows of her own fears and on the edge of society (literally and figuratively). The only person she truly can trust is her surrogate mother Tabitha, who has her own darkness to deal with as she races against the time terminal cancer has given her to prepare Eleanor for… well, you will have to read to see. But when her own childhood friend moves back to town, she now must face having having the responsibility as well as the joy of the friendship again and all that it entails, including social circles.
Eleanor never feels safe. Not safe from the state, because of mother’s health and their dependence on state aid; not safe in school, in case her peers or teachers notice the otherness she knows and perceives a bit too much inside her; not safe to really be the teenager she is now. The themes throughout this book are so intermingled with ribbons of darkness and light I felt like a whirling dervish with all the emotions it evoked: all those feelings from growing up as an odd duck and my feelings now as an adult. The aspect of “monster” is not just one literally but metaphorically**. Many times, at least for me, to show just how non-monstrous the monster is… ( yes, say that 10 times fast!).
With each turn of the page (or flick of the finger) the story unfolds and shines a bit more light into the mystery. Just when we think we know what is going on, we are given more info to realize there is even more to it and we maybe wrong. If this was a mystery book, my review would be based on keeping me in the dark during my rating decision. I was approximately at 90% before I had a complete handle on just exactly what everything was, and even then, the end surprised me.
The themes were pretty focused and having to do with love on so many levels. Ones of balance, familial, passion, self-love, first love, and in the end, even sacrificial love. With the First Nation mythological aspects so gently and eloquently layered within and the fact it is a coming-of-age story with plans to grow with your young adult readers ages as a series, you would think there maybe a few problem areas to weave within, but this was not the case. As I have argued in the past, young adults who read aren’t stupid. They desire books who treat them with respect. They want not just need this type of book. Johnny Worthen blended the conventions and tropes of the paranormal, coming-of-age, mythological and created such a powerful message young adults crave and adults need reminding of, Eleanor, The Unseen, cannot help but be impactful.
I recommend Eleanor to anyone. Don’t stop at the first chapter; I promise it will make sense. Such a clean, tight, well balanced, beautiful read. Anyone who wants a book that makes them feel… everything, or just a book to keep them excited to turn each and every page need to add Eleanor to your “Must Read” list!
Anyone interested in reading a stellar bonus content plus a recipe which I dedicate to all the unseen summer girls, check out the full review on Cabin Goddess!
Time for a short review. Stop laughing, I can write a brief and concise review without rambling. Hey! Stop laughing! I can! Especially when dealing with such an epic and fun fantasy novel! I said stop laughing! But let me introduce to you today's victim..err guest, Mr. Michael Meyerhofer and his first in a trilogy, Wytchfire!
It has been quite sometime since I sat down and invested in epic fantasy. I love epic fantasy, but like everyone else I want my entertainment spoon fed and I want to be able to read more than one book for three weeks. Well, Wytchfyre is an epic fantasy, with the feel of the tomes of the late 80's and 90's, the humor and the darkness likened to R.A. Salvatore's style and the wondrous symbolic nature found in many of Tad Williams' works (told you, late 80's early 90's!) . I found myself fondling my bag of die and wanting to role play as I worked my way through this... in two days.
You read that right, I seriously tore through this a couple weeks ago in two days, about 7 hours of reading... EPIC, baby! It grabbed me right off and whisked me away. I fell in love with Rowen and the trouble he got in from the get go! It is fast paced, completely horrifying with a complex world build but not so much as you had to keep a chart next to the bed but complex enough to not make you feel it was dumbed down to the masses.
All of the characters are believable, which for me was a major bonus for fantasy. Sure you suspend belief but you still want to feel the guy casting Magic Missile with a reasonable saving throw (fingers crossed you did your skill points right)... but you still want to feel like this is a guy who you could have a cup of coffee with if he was going to show up in say Erica Lucke Dean's Suddenly Sorceress with his shirt ofg and asking for his beverage to be a half-caf with 2 shots of vanilla. The thing is, a human is a human, and when he is not, well... ?
A halfling rogue, a half-orc cleric, a human ranger and an elven ninja walk into (a bar.. lol.. no sorry) an orcish castle. The halfling, in an attempt to prevent the group from being ambushed by guards, makes a Spot check and rolls a nat-20.
I say "Oh hey, natural 20". "What do I get?" he asks, and I reply with "X-ray vision". He then asks what he sees, and I tell him with a perfectly straight face "Naked orcs."
Oops sorry I lost my way there for a moment. But I am making a point, it was fun, at times light and not to off the cuff deep and brooding like many dark fantasies. At the right moments it's so dark and horrifying (let's just say I would not want to deal with the "NIGHTMARE" in any of my RPG campaigns) I felt my heart race a bit! I do not have a decent saving throw at all to get me out of that one, and my chance to crit-hit with my measly collection of spells? ... crap where was I (putting the dice away). Oh ya, Wytchfire and Michael (so much for my short and sweet.. dang it all!)
The book is wonderful! It even has stuff for the Japanese Fuedal era enthusiasts! I asked Geoff (my resident expert) after I read on a few scenes how spot-on and his commentary was quite complimentary, "considering it is a fantasy book, not bad!" which is pretty damn good from him.
This is one for your summer reading list with your teens too. It is not to long, certainly not overwhelmingly complex, yet complex enough but not so much as I need to create a Powerpoint chart or drag out my white board to keep track of everything. I could enjoy and also be impressed enough to recommend it to the "kid" (my 25-year-old fantasy fan) who is re-reading Sword of Truth series right now knowing he would love it too. I easily give this book a 9 out of 10 strips of perfectly crispy Cabin Goddess bacon and anxiously wait for the next in the Dragonkin Trilogy.
Hey you, stop laughing! I think I did a pretty good job! Review was under 700 words, 670 on the dot! *pokes you with her sword* Now hurry with book 2, Mr. Man!